Social, Economic And Psychological Challenges Of Single Parent Family

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Social, Economic And Psychological Challenges Of Single Parent Family


Abstract


The study investigated the social, economic and psychological challenges of single parent family in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of Ogun State. The study cross analyzed the degree of these challenges among the respondents in the study area. Although the causes and challenges of single mother hard in Nigeria have been explored a bit, research on single parenting in Ijebu-Ode is surprisingly birth histories to explore single parenting over the life course of women in Kabong and Apata Districts. The descriptive approach was adopted for the purpose data gathering. We find out that in both locations, a substantial number of women experience one part single parenting before the age of 45. Women are far more likely to become single mothers following a divorce or death of their spouse rather than as a consequence of pre-marital birth.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

In May 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle suggested that a breakdown of the nuclear family was among the causes of recent riots in Los Angeles in which over fifty people had died. “I believe the lawless social anarchy which we saw is directly related to the breakdown of family structure, personal responsibility and social order in too many areas of our society,” Quayle remarked. He went on to criticize society’s increasingly permissive attitude toward out-of-wedlock childbearing, pointing specifically to the treatment of the issue in the television sitcom Murphy Brown. “It doesn’t help matters when prime time TV has Murphy Brown—a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid, professional woman—mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice.’”

Quayle’s speech, especially his reference to Murphy Brown, provoked an outpouring of commentary. Numerous Americans agreed with Quayle, expressing concern that the “traditional family” and “family values” were being undermined by a public morality that too readily condoned unwed motherhood and divorce. Many also agreed with Quayle’s argument that the media and popular culture were to blame for promoting loose sexual values and immoral lifestyles.

Others took exception to Quayle’s statements. Some, seeing his speech as a moralistic attack on single mothers, responded by insisting that most single mothers work hard to provide for their children and to raise them well. Others considered Quayle’s view of the traditional family as nostalgic and unrealistic, out of touch with the social and economic realities of life in contemporary America. The character Murphy Brown, played by actress Candice Bergen, directly responded to Quayle in a subsequent episode of the show. In words that doubtlessly resonated with many Americans, she declared, “Perhaps it’s time for the vice president to expand his definition [of family] and recognize that whether by choice or circumstance families come in all shapes and sizes. And ultimately, what really defines a family is commitment, caring and love.”

The intensity of the public reaction to Quayle’s speech suggests that his comments touched on an issue of concern to a large number of people. Indeed, many commentators have expressed alarm about the increase in single-parent families over the past four decades. In 1960, they point out; 5.8 million American children lived in single-parent families; by 1996 that number had risen to 18 million. This growth has been fueled by an increasing rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing. In 1960, 5.3 percent of American babies were born to unwed mothers; that rate has increased to 30 percent. These numbers are even higher for African Americans: As of 1992, 68 percent of African American babies were born to unmarried women. A rising divorce rate has also contributed to the growing number of single-parent families. The U.S. divorce rate rose nearly 250 percent between 1960 and 1980; it then leveled off at what is now the highest rate in the industrialized world. It is commonly noted that about half of the marriages undertaken today will end in divorce.

Much of the debate over single-parent families focuses on how these trends affect children. Many social scientists contend that children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to experience a variety of problems than are children raised in two-parent homes

Family this is seen as the social group whose members are related by ancestry, marriage or adoption and who live together, cooperate economically and care for the young (Murdock.1998).

Family is also seen as a group of individuals related by to one another by blood ties, marriage or adoption who form an economic unit, the adult members are responsible for the upbringing of children (Giddens, 1997).

Types of family relationships are always recognized within wider kinship groups. In virtually all societies we can identify what sociologists and anthropologist call the nuclear family two adults living together in a household with their own or adopted children.

Extended family may include grand parents, brothers and their wives, sisters and their husbands, aunts and nephews.

Single parent families can be defined as families where a parent lives with dependent children, either alone or in a larger household, without a spouse or partner. There was a rapid and drastic increase in the number of single-parent families in the latter half of the twentieth century. This change has been used by some to argue that we are witnessing the breakdown of the family (defined as a married couple residing with their dependent offspring) with negative effects for children, families, and society (Popenoe 1996).

Types of single parent families are generally categorized by the sex of the custodial parent (mother-only or father-only families).

Mother-only families include widows, divorced and separated women, and never-married mothers. In the case of divorce, mothers are usually given custody in the United States and other developed countries. In Italy, in 1997, for example, 90 percent of children whose parents divorced went into the custody of their mothers. Since the vast majority of single parents are mothers, most of the research focuses on female-headed families. However, regardless of sex, single parents share similar problems and challenges (Grief 1985).

Father- only families formed as a result of widowhood, desertion by the mother, or wives refusing custody. The increase in father-only families is due, in part, to the efforts of fathers to obtain custody of their children. Factors supporting their transition into primary parenthood include financial security, prior involvement in housework and child care during the marriage, satisfaction with child-care arrangements, and a shared sense of responsibility for the marital breakup (Grief 1985).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem of this study is to find out the most urgent problem that now faces the single parent families. These problems which include social, psychological, Economic and financial problems.

The health and well being of women and children is a key focus of the United Nations millennium development goals (MDGs) as well as the reduction of HIV/AIDS by 2015 ( WHO, 2008) among others. Although literatures have identified single parenting is fast becoming a regular family type, studies have shown that such families are associated with negative impacts not only on the parent and children but also on the society as a whole(Kalil et al., 2001),some researchers hypothesize that the phenomenon is the possible cause for increased in children mortality, poor educational attainment, poor health, and delinquent behaviours compared to children of married mothers (Biblartz and Goittainer, 2000; Florshien et al 1998; Painter and Levine 2000). On the other hand, single mothers experience burden of poverty, gender discrimination, unemployment, stigmatization and poor living conditions compared to women living with their husbands (Buvinic and Gupta, 1997; Curtist, 2001; Kalil et al., 2001). This is because single mothers are financially constrained, socially ostracized and more affected by poverty than married mothers (Mclanahan and Sandfeur, 1994).

There is pressure on these women to provide for themselves and their offspring with their little income, most times without any support from relatives or the government. As a result, their children are more malnourished, less likely to complete school, more likely to turn criminals. Further worsening the situation is that most single mothers are not educated, thus their probability of getting gainful employment is greatly affected. Single parenting also leads to the deterioration of neither normative values nor systems. It is therefore topical that a research on the cause and challenges of single parenting is carried out to try to expose the possible factors undermining the problem in Ijebu-Ode Local Government. The outcomes are likely to expose many other unforseen factors that are wreaking havoc on the institutions of marriage.


1.3 General Objectives of the Research

This study will specifically examine the challenges facing the single parent families in terms of social, Economic and psychological needs.


1.4 Specific Objectives of the Research

  1. To identify the causes of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council.
  2. To determine the challenges of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council.
  3. To investigate the impact of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council.

1.5 Research Questions

This research when completed can answer some of the following questions:

  1. What are the primary causes of being a single mother in Ijebu-Ode Local Government?
  2. What are the various challenges of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government council?
  3. What is the impact of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council?

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Research

This research study will be conducted in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council of Ogun State Nigeria; it was created in 1991 under the leadership of the former military head of state General Babangida Ibrahim, which covers a land area of about 291 km (112sqm). Ijebu-Ode has about 23 districts, with a population of about 429,300 at 2006 census conducted in Nigeria, with its headquarter in the city centre of Ogun state. In particular this research intends to identify the causes, challenges and impacts of single parenting within Ijebu-Ode Locality and possible recommendations be made to address the problem being faced by single mothers. All respondents and literatures collected will be base on the recent happenings in the various districts of the council between the years 2015 to 2016.


1.7 Significance of the Research

This research is aimed at contributing to the limited work on single parenting in Ijebu-Ode, specifically, it examines the broad range of factors that have been suggested to cause single parenting and the various challenges they face in Nigeria particularly Ijebu-Ode, because it will provides better setting for exploring single parenting in Ijebu-Ode for several reasons:

Firstly, some recent studies have observed and increase in the number of premarital childbearing, divorce, and adult mortality during the past couple of years in the Local Government (Samp Russel 2010), also HIV/AIDS have been the recent cause of death in the Council causing single parenting among many women.

Secondly, previous studies of single mothers have focused on a singular analysis which is poverty among single mothers, but this research is important because the findings of this study may provide a better insight on the subject matter which other researcher have neglected. Also, the use of multivariate analyses to investigate single parenting in Ijebu-Ode environment will allows us to gain some empirical insights into the processes surrounding the single parenting in this Council.

Thirdly, despite the rapidly increasing number of single mother families, studies suggested that they are characterized mainly by poverty, and negative chid outcome (Kalil et al., 2001; Bibliaz and Gottainer, 2004). Ijebu-Ode has witnessed huge economic crises, especially between 2001 to 2014 which translates to high food prices, poor living conditions and increased in high mortality (Bose, 2007) as a result parent lack economic ability to take care of their children, hence children are adversely affected in many ways, poor health, malnourishment, dropping out from school, crime involvement and drugs (Ellwood and Jencks, 2002 McLanahan and Sandfeur, 1994). Understanding the factors associated with single mother families may be the first step in developing programmes that can be used to address the challenges facing these women and their children.

Finally, this study will add to the body of growing knowledge on single parenting in Nigeria and Ijebu-Ode Council in particular, it will also provide a platform for further research on the same or similar topic; it will help to identify the significant causes and challenges of single parenting which can be compared to the western worlds. In addition, because of the consequences attached with single mother hood, this study will then recommend policies, programme and interventions to the government, ministries of women affairs and organizations so that channels be created to help reduce poverty and negative childhood outcome in single mother families when completed


1.8 Definitions of Terms

Family:

The social group, whose members are related by ancestry, Blood, Marriage, or and who live together, cooperate Economically and Care for the young once.

Single parent:

A parent lives with dependent children, either alone or in a larger household, without a spouse or partner.

Nuclear family:

Two adults living together in a household with their own or Adopted children.

Extended family:

These are grand parents, brothers and their wives, sisters And Their\husbands, aunts and nephews.

Mothers only families:

The widows divorced and separated women, and Never-Married mothers.

Fathers only families:

Widowhood, desertion by the mother, or wives Refusing Custody.


Chapter Five


Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion

This chapter summarizes the aim, objectives and the key findings of the study; it recommends actions to be taken by individuals, the society and the government in order to curtail the trend of single parenting and the negative effects it has on single mothers, children under single parenting and the society at large. This chapter also draws conclusions based on the findings of the study.


5.1 Summary of Research Objectives

This research project set out to achieve a particular aim and certain specific objectives. The aim of the study is to identify the causes and challenges of single mothers in Ijebu-Ode Local Government. The study also has certain specific objectives, which are to identify the causes of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council, to determine the challenges of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council and to investigate the impact of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council


5.2 Key Findings

Field work was carried out and several data was obtained from the field, and through these data, several findings was revealed, the key findings of the this study are as follows;

The findings with regards to causes of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode reveals that early pre-marital activities is a leading cause of single parenting, and majority (79%) of the respondents affirmed this fact. The findings with regards to the challenges faced by single mothers in Ijebu-Ode LGA, reveals that the major challenges faced by single mothers in Ijebu-Ode are financial challenges (51.4%) and child upbringing (39.63%).Findings with regards to the impact of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Council reveal that majority (94%) of single mothers are burdened with daily demands from children, also majority (63%) of the respondents think single parenting can lead to child poverty, majority (73%) of the respondents also think that single parenting can influence single mothers to engage in deviant behaviors like stealing and prostitution to provide for their child’s need.

Furthermore, it was revealed that majority (41%) of the respondents think that children who grow under single mothers are likely to be deviant, also most respondents (53%) think single parenting is gradually changing value for marriage. Other findings reveal that majority of the respondents say that educating girl child on the consequences of early pre-marital activities can reduce the rate of single parenting.


5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study several recommendations can be made, and when these recommendations are recognized practiced and integrated into government policies in Ijebu-Ode, it would aid in curbing the rising trend of single parenting and the negative consequences it hold for the single mothers, the dependent children and the society at large. Recommendations that would help alleviate the challenges and sufferings faced by single mothers and their dependent children.

These recommendations include but are not limited to;

  1. Public enlightenment and education of youths especially young girls on the negative consequences of early pre-marital sexual activities leading to unplanned pregnancies and single parenting and the use of contraceptives during sex: Since early pre-marital sexual activities has been discovered to be one of the leading causes of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode, government, non-governmental organizations, religious organizations and other groups can use the various available media such as television, radio, newspaper, hand bills, the internet (social media) etcetera to reach out to young people in order to educate and enlighten them of the negative effects of early pre-marital sexual activities which can lead to un-planned pregnancies and can have certain effects (such as; dropping out of school to take care of child, financial challenges, discrimination/stigmatization, etcetera). In a case were young people cannot abstinence from early pre-marital sexual activities, the use of contraceptives such as condoms should be encouraged in order to prevent unplanned pregnancies and single parenting.
  2. Prohibition of divorce and separation of couples with dependent children, except divorce or separation is on the bases of life threatening situations and relationships and enforcement of payment of child support and alimony by the fathers: Having discovered the negative effects of single parenting on the single mother, the dependent child and the society, relevant authorities should enforce the prohibition of divorce and separation except in life threatening relationships and marriages, the rationale behind this recommendation is that, children tend to be well integrated and properly socialized into society and her norms under a complete family system consisting of the father and mother. Also the fathers of dependent children should be coerced to support single mothers financially in the training of the child in order to help reduce the financial challenges single mothers and their dependent children face. This is important because, such laws are not enforced in places like Ijebu-Ode, and as such fathers of dependent children do not take up the responsibilities of training the children, but if these laws are enforced the sufferings of single mothers would be largely alleviated.
  3. Single mothers with no job and source of income should be financially supported by the government, non-governmental organizations, religious groups, other groups and wealthy individuals through the provision of startup capital for businesses and enrollment into skill acquisition programmes. The findings of this study have revealed that the major challenge faced by single mothers are financial challenges ranging from lack of school fees, food and other basic needs of the child and the mother, therefore in order to support single mothers and divert deviant behaviours such as stealing and prostitution to cater for the child and to avoid deviant behaviors of children under single parenting due to poverty it is important that single mothers be financially supported by sustainable means.
  4. Stigmatization and discrimination of single mothers and children under single mothers should be discouraged by appropriate authorities, individuals, family and the general community should be discouraged from stigmatizing single mothers in order to ensure proper integration and acceptance of single mothers into society as this would enhance and ensure smooth attempt to support single mothers and their dependent child/children.

5.4 Conclusion

Based on the findings and revelations of this study, the following conclusions and generalizations can be comfortably and adequately drawn;

It can be concluded that the leading cause of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode LGA is early pre-marital sexual activities and most single mothers became single mothers accidentally, that is through un-planned pregnancies. It could also be concluded based on the findings that the major challenges faced by single mothers in Ijebu-Ode LGA are financial challenges and child upbringing. It can be further be concluded based on the research findings that single parenting can lead to child poverty, single parenting can also influence single mothers to engage in deviant behaviors like stealing and prostitution to provide for their child’s need. Furthermore, it can be concluded the children who grow under single mothers are likely to be deviant, and single parenting is gradually changing value for marriage in the society.

The findings from this study are quite expository and have proven significant and relevant in the understanding of the causes, challenges and impact of single parenting in Ijebu-Ode and in Nigeria at large. These findings have also raised several issues with regards to single parenting, issue such as the role of the fathers in the training and upbringing of dependent children under single mothers, especially in societies where payment of child support and alimony is not enforced, other issues like how the children under single mothers cope and how they are integrated and socialized into society. These and many more issues are researchable issues raised by the findings of this research.


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